To Whom it May Concern,
My husband and I owners of Tony Martin Dairy in Lemoore California. My husband is a 3rd generation dairy farmer as well as myself.
We have witnessed the volatility of our business since the days of our grandfathers. We have grown up expecting these volatilities and have endured. With the current situation and economic turn we are suffering terribly. The constant anxiety, asking “how long can we take this”? We often share sleepless nights not knowing which direction to turn. We are in our middle age with college kids that have dreams of coming back to the dairy. We have thought of slowing down a bit. This is not and might never be the case as this crisis has eaten up so much money and equity. We never expect to get that back but hope to hold on to what we have.
I realize that it is a “supply problem….and this was the perfect storm”. In my frustration I starting turning to those who represent us and how our voice seems never to be heard. I question over and over the fairness of our price discovery being the CME. It is very, very thinly traded with the likings of Kraft and Dean Foods ( Their last quarter profits were record breaking) and there is such a lack of transparency! I feel that this huge question is always ignored and brushed off as “a supply problem”! Yet, I know that I am not the only one the sees a conflict of interest when on this thinly traded market Kraft and Dean are in the mix and they have record profits and we are barely keeping our heads a float.
I am not naive enough to not realize that if our supply was in sync with the demand we would not have these problems. We would be in charge. There has been talk of a Supply Management Plan. I believe that would be the tool we would need to obtain that nationally. I do understand the want of “free market” but we already have government intervention in areas that I don’t feel benefit farmers in the long run and if anyone who has cashed and MILC check….well that is government intervention. For those that feel this is a time to weed out the weak, I say to you that if anyone is still in the dairy business today, they are not weak, but when we have to fight greed and collusion among those we are suppose to trust and rely on for a fair price for our production, it is just a matter of time for all of us.
Thank you for your time and concern.
Tony and Barbara Martin
Tony Martin Dairy